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TV Notes: 6/7/03

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Clinton flick in works

If you don't want to bother with the book, there's a Hillary Rodham Clinton TV movie in the works.

A&E will make a two-hour movie on the New York senator and former first lady that is expected to air in early 2004.

No one has been cast yet, but producers have already talked with Sharon Stone about the title role, according to a source close to the production.

A&E's announcement comes just days before Clinton's book, "Living History," is scheduled to hit bookstores. The senator will be seen in TV interviews with Barbara Walters, Katie Couric and Larry King in next few days.

The A&E movie will be based on a different book, though: Gail Sheehy's best seller, "Hillary's Choice."

The movie begins with the start of husband Bill Clinton's presidency and "will focus on Hillary's quest to fulfill her own high hopes and ambitions as she repeatedly faces humiliating personal setbacks," the network said. It ends with her election to the U.S. Senate.

"It's a fascinating story and one that has absolutely captured the imagination of the public," said Robert DeBitetto, senior vice president of programming for A&E.

A&E is known for its "Biography" series, but DeBitetto stressed that "Hillary's Choice" will not be a documentary. The cable network has been struggling in the ratings the last few years and is eager for attention.

He said no casting decisions have been made on, for instance, the actress playing Monica Lewinsky.

"We're open to suggestions," he said.

(David Bauder, Associated Press)

Reagan miniseries

CBS is planning a two-part miniseries about the family life of former President Reagan and wife Nancy.

It will chronicle Reagan's relationship with Nancy, his second wife, and his rise in politics as governor of California and later as president.

The story is based on Carl Sferrazza Anthony's 1991 book "First Ladies: The Saga of the Presidents' Wives and Their Power, 1961-1990."

"The Reagans" miniseries is being produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, whose previous credits include the acclaimed TV biopics "Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," "The Three Stooges" and the recent "Lucy."

Judy Davis, who won an Emmy for playing Garland, is negotiating to co-star as Nancy Reagan, the trade newspaper Variety reported. CBS and the producers have not announced any other casting.

Reagan, 92, has remained in seclusion in recent years after announcing in 1994 that he had the memory-destroying Alzheimer's disease. The former first lady, 81, has been his chief caregiver.

Production is set to start over the summer and could be broadcast as early as November.

(AP)

PCN opens local bureau

Pennsylvania Cable Network has opened a Western Pennsylvania bureau, renting space in the Post-Gazette newsroom.

Joshua Mackley will staff the Western Pennsylvania desk. Last year, PCN opened a bureau in Philadelphia.

(Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor)

Channel surfing

NBC will produce a new "Vacation" film. Randy Quaid reprises his role in "National Lampoon's Cousin Eddie's Christmas Vacation"... Bizarro comedy "The League of Gentlemen" begins its third season on BBC America at 10:30 p.m. June 27.

(R.O.)

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